Remainders is the blog term for links and bookmarks that have come to the blogger’s attention, that s/he thinks are worth a read, but lacks the time or inclination to write a full article about them. Here are mine for this week:

The Sixth Great Extinction: The Earth Policy Institute is tracking rates of animal extinction and comparing them to the great extinctions of the past, 65 million years ago (meteorite wipes out the dinosaurs), 208 million years ago, 245 million years ago (massive volcanic eruptions), 367 million years ago, and 440 million years ago (ice age). In each great extinction, 70-95% of all species of land or sea creatures suddenly (within a few thousand years) disappear. Current annual rates of species extinction are between 1,000-10,000 times greater than average extinction rates since the dinosaurs disappeared, indicating that the sixth known great extinction is underway. Although this increase in extinction rate was already trending upwards a millennium ago, global warming and habitat destruction are accelerating the extinction rate many-fold. This will be the first known extinction precipitated substantially by a single species, and the first one that a single species could act to prevent.


Women Design a Smart Sexy Car: Volvo is touring a ‘concept’ car designed by women for women, with a combination of practicality (rubber bumpers), fashion flexibility (interchangeable car seats), and sexiness (gullwing doors). I think it looks and sounds sensational. So why is everyone going to such pains to say it will never be made commercially? Am I missing something?

Buying Your Way Out of Jail with Bush:
Adam Hersh at Globalize This is doing some wonderful economic and legal research. Read his recent posts on unemployment and education, and then check out this research on the crimes of Charles & David Koch and the $40 billion conglomerate Koch Industries, from which the table at right was prepared.

The case against Koch is the second major recent criminal environmental action against the company. In 2000, Koch also settled out of court, for $35 million, charges of “egregious” negligence in connection with over 300 major oil spills in six states.

Note that Ken Lay of Enron, an even more generous donor to Republicans, whose crimes are even more heinous than Koch’s, has yet to be charged with anything.

Charles & David Koch
Martha Stewart
Criminal violation of clean air act, knowingly dumping hazardous wastes, conspiracy, making false statements, endangering public health and safety, 97 charges in all
Insider trading, 4 charges in all
Assessed value of damage
Penalties sought
$350 million fines plus lengthy jail terms for principals
Contribution to Republicans etc.
$22 million to Republicans, 137 judges accepted free trips to Koch’s anti-regulatory “environmental seminars”
Zero (Stewart is a Democrat)
Settled out of court for $20 million damages (one hour’s revenue)  and no jail time
Guilty verdict; jail time probable; loss in net worth over $500 million

   1. April 24, 2003. President Bush travels to the Canton, OH, plant of the Timken Company to promote his tax plan. In a speech to workers, he promises that the tax cut plan ?means more money for investments, more money for growth and more money for jobs.?
   2. June, 2003. W. R. Timken, CEO of the Timken Company (2002 income: $2,600,000) holds a fund raiser for George W. Bush that brings in $600,000 and earns “Ranger” status for Timken.
   3. September, 2003. The Timken Company demonstrates the effectiveness of Bush’s tax plan by laying off 700 workers.

Another Great Bush Job Creation Story:
Mike Jones points out an amazing series of coincidences that occurred last year at the Timken Company, another strong Bush supporter and a company with a history of price-fixing. Details at left.

US Income & Wealth Disparity Data:
Bookmark this list from the Shared Capitalism Institute if you ever find yourself in a debate with people who say trickle-down economics works or wealth disparity is decreasing. This site needs to be updated, because the data is before Presnit Bush took office and made things much worse. But it’s still paints an incredible (and fully cited) picture of gross inequity. Chart at right is based on data from Worldwatch: Vital Signs.
salary ratios

This entry was posted in Our Culture / Ourselves. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to REMAINDERS

  1. O RLY YA RLY says:

    On the last one: what do you say to people who say that this is why the US is the biggest economic power in the world and that making it even worse would be even better? (apart from ‘correlation is not causation’ and such)How do you convince them that this is bad?

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Harald: If all the data in the Shared Capitalism Institute isn’t enough to convince someone that economic disparity is dysfunctional, there is only one other thing that might work: Take them out into the street and have them meet some of the people who are disadvantaged, and damaged, through no fault of their own, by this sick economy. Especially, have them meet the children, the most tragic victims.

  3. Rayne says:

    Dave’s right, Harald. And correlation is not causation; this country has been an immense economic power for a while, well before the chart looks as it does.We’re taught here in business school that the reward for risk is profit; more risk encourages more profit. But the cases of Enron, Worldcom and Tyco show that there is a point at which the rewards themselves are a risk, and not only to shareholders but stakeholders at large. Unfortunately, academia here has been sucking at the corporate teat for too long and has lost its way, has not been teaching business ethics that are systemic and holistic rather than individualistic and corporatist. Were Americans to be taught in business school to make decisions based on broader impact to stakeholders rather than shareholders, this chart might not show such a stark curve and debacles like Enron might be far less likely to happen.

  4. O RLY YA RLY says:

    This is also an issue here in Holland. But overhere the answer consists often of pointing to the US. Hence the question.Rayne: I always look at such things from a PR point of view. Enlightened self-interest.

  5. Rayne says:

    I’ll give you PR: simply look at heart of Detroit, look at a city that in spite of a lot of recent churning looks more like a neutron bomb hit it. The corporations that lived there sucked it dry and left like a hoard of locusts. They did not look to the stakeholders — the city residents, the county residents, the citizens of Michigan. They simply left a hole. There are many examples here to which you can point that will counter any argument which supports profiteering and corporatism. Like Dave said, check with the people. Specifically stakeholders.

  6. O RLY YA RLY says:

    That’s what I meant; what has it brought the manufacturers that did that? What’s the state of the American car industry now? What’s their image and what effect does it have on their sales?To put it simply; treat people right -> good image -> sell more, treat people bad -> bad image -> sell less. I’m not saying it’s the decisive factor but it ties in with many other things.

Comments are closed.